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Former Bell Nursing Home site to be redeveloped

New owner planning small commerce park

THE NEW owner of the former Bell Nursing Home site in Belmont is working to develop the 22 acres into a small commerce park. T-L Photo/JENNIFER COMPSTON STROUGH

BELMONT — The former site of a nursing home that caught fire last year is being revamped for use as a small commerce park.

Bill Coulson, owner of Bill’s Towing & Recovery in Bridgeport, said he purchased the National Road property and acreage last year and is in the process of preparing the land for future renters. Coulson said Friday that he already was in the process of buying the land, which included the former Bell Nursing Home, when the fire occurred there last year.

“We were buying it for the property not the building,” Coulson said. “In the next six months we hope to get it developed. … When we get a renter, we will build to their (specifications). Whatever they need,” he said.

Coulson said the nursing home building has been demolished, but the rubble still must be removed from the site. The process to have it torn down was a long one, as the building contained asbestos, he said. The asbestos had to be removed first before demolition could occur.

Trees from the 22 acres also had to cut down and removed, a job that Coulson hired another company to do as well. The land first must be graded before any structures can be built, he said.

Coulson said his plan is to construct buildings to suit renters’ needs. Some companies need space to store pipe related to the oil and gas industry, he said. Others need fenced in space to keep construction equipment and gravel.

According to information from the Belmont County Auditor’s website, Coulson purchased the property for $400,000 in October 2018.

Regarding his towing business, Coulson noted more than half of his customers are now related to the oil and gas drilling industry.

“It’s booming. Everything is booming. But we’re having the same problem everybody else is — there’s no help,” Coulson said, referring to the need for more drivers, office help and dispatchers.

A fire occurred at the former nursing home building on Sept. 5, 2018. The building’s former longtime owner, Michael Maistros of St. Clairsville, said previously that the original building was constructed in the 1950s as a hotel, and his father, the late Gust Maistros, coverted the building into a nursing home in 1968. It closed in 2006. Both Maistros and his father worked as administrators there.

Michael Maistros could not be reached for additional comment.

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